North Korea to test 39underwater nuclear weapons system39 state

North Korea to test 'underwater nuclear weapons system' – state media –

January 19, 2024, 03:32 GMT

Updated 1 hour ago

Image source: RODONG SHINMUN

image description,

North Korean state media released these images of the “underwater nuclear system” when the drones were unveiled last April

North Korea said it conducted a test of its “underwater nuclear weapons system” in response to exercises by the United States, South Korea and Japan this week.

The underwater drone, which is said to be capable of carrying a nuclear weapon, was tested off the east coast, state media said.

There is no other evidence that the tests were conducted, and Seoul had previously said the North's descriptions of the drones' capabilities were exaggerated.

South Korea described the reported tests as a “provocation.”

It “further threatens peace.” [the] “If North Korea directly provokes us, we will respond overwhelmingly, adhering to the principle of immediate, strong and final action.”

The North has previously announced tests of its Haeil-5-23 system, but the latest incident came as the North increased military operations in recent weeks.

On Sunday, it claimed to have deployed a new solid-fuel medium-range ballistic missile.

North Korea said on Friday it was provoked by joint exercises between Washington, Seoul and Tokyo to test its underwater weapons, according to a report by state agency KCNA.

She accused the exercises of “further destabilizing the regional situation” and endangering the security of the north.

The United States, South Korea and Japan say they have conducted more exercises over the past year as a deterrence response to North Korea's increasing military actions, which have included multiple tests of its nuclear ballistic missiles and the launch of new weapons. All such actions violate UN sanctions.

But Mr. Kim has repeatedly said his regime is building up its military arsenal to prepare for a war that could break out on the peninsula “at any time.”

Over the course of the new year, he announced some fundamental policy changes in his regime's stance toward South Korea.

And earlier this week, he declared the previous basic goal of reunification with South Korea to be over and described the South as the “main enemy.”

The rhetoric follows several claimed advances in his country's military and nuclear capabilities – including its undersea operations.

Since March 2023, the company has also reported tests of its Haeil system – unmanned, nuclear-armed underwater drones. Haeil means “tsunami” in Korean.

Little is known about these weapons or their alleged performance, but North Korean media have described them as being capable of sneaking into enemy waters and triggering large underwater explosions.

Analysts said if the weapons worked as presented by the North, they would be viewed as a less significant weapon than the regime's nuclear ballistic missiles.

“Given the level of North Korea's defense science and the fact that the weapon is still in the development phase, it is not yet at the stage where it poses a significant threat,” said Ahn Chan-il, a defector-turned-researcher at the World has become the Institute for North Korea Studies, said the AFP news agency.

Late last year, Pyongyang also said it had successfully launched a spy satellite after previous failed attempts and vowed to deploy three more this year.

Whether the satellite actually works still needs to be independently verified.

However, South Korea said the North managed to build its satellite with the help of Russia, which in turn reportedly received weapons from the North for its war in Ukraine.

Mr Kim had high-profile meetings with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu last year. North Korea's foreign minister was also in Moscow this week.